Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Online: New Online Maps for Real Estate Users

Since Google made its maps available for customization last year, savvy programmers have created thriving businesses by adding layers of information.

So in May, Washington-based startup FortiusOne launched GeoCommons, a cartographic portal where users can easily create their own mashups.

The site has 2 billion pieces of localized data -- from census figures and school district budgets to water-contamination and traffic-congestion hot spots -- and it is rapidly adding more. Two examples are below offered by users that collected data through business and government sites:

1. Foreclosure Filing and the Subprime Collapse: Foreclosure filings are starting to hit hard. People all over the country are having trouble paying off their ARMs (Adjustable rate Mortgages) and houses are being foreclosed. This is having a ripple effect in the economy, Home Depot and Lowe's have already cut their earnings estimates and it looks likely that more trouble is on the way. Our map will show you the locations of foreclosures, auction notifications, and other housing indicators. this map shows the Top 500 Zipcodes ranked by number of foreclosures.

2. House Hunting Made Easy: I wanted to demonstrate how to speed up a home search by using Intersection Heat Maps. In my scenario, we are looking for a home in neighborhoods that have large numbers of kids, large numbers of tech workers, newer homes, low crime rates, and large number of parks. This data includes information on subsidized housing in the lower 48 states. The source of the data is HUD. A full description of the variables and coding used in the dataset is provided on the HUD website: http://www.huduser.org/picture2000/dictionary.pdf

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